Are you thinking about bringing a second cat home; or have to sit someone else’s cat at your residence when you already have one. Well you should know that cats are territorial and if you aren’t prepared beforehand, you might create a bad initial experience for your new cat as well as the old one!
Not all cats are welcoming to another cat entering their territory and while your cat might have never attacked anyone before but things can get pretty heated if you don’t take the right steps when you introduce your cats.
Make some private space for your new cat
Don’t release the second cat into home straight away! A lot of times, people end up releasing the second cat the moment they arrive home. That can make the cat feel vulnerable and most of them will try to hide, run away from you!
If possible try to have a small room for your second cat where the cat has it’s litterbox, toys, food and bed. Open the carrier in this room and close the door but make sure that the room is properly ventilated and check on the cat every few hours. It’s possible to install a baby monitor to see what your cat is up to. The cat might end up staying in it’s carrier for a few hours but will eventually come out on its own. You might need to do this for a couple of days as some cats adapt quickly and some don’t.
It might be useful to spray some toys with catnip as cats tend to enjoy it.
Do not introduce the two cats too soon!
This is very important! Cats can be very scared when they are being moved and the first thing you should be doing is to make it as comfortable as possible for the new cat. Most of the times it’s easier for the person to make a relationship with the new cat than other cats.
Make the right introduction with you!
Once the cat is out of the carrier, you can enter the room and call by them by their name. Throw some treats at them and see how they respond. Don’t try to chase them at this point. Once the cat eats a treat, start putting them closer to you one by one. That will lure the cat towards you. Spend some time with the cat, and see if they are willing to play with any toys with you. It might take 2-3 days for the cat to feel comfortable with you.
Petting might be risky
Don’t try to pet your new cat as they may hiss or try to bite you. You need to give them some time to build relationship with you as well as your first cat.
I usually try to see if a cat tries to eat treats from my hand or not. If not, then maybe I need to give them some time before I try to pet them. Sometimes I bring move my hand in front of them to let them smell and see how they respond.
Introducing your first cat to your new cat
The first step for you would be to bring your cat to the door of the private room that you created for your new cat. You will notice your cat smelling around the door or trying to see what’s on the other end. After a while, try to open the door just slightly to let the cats see each other only. If they are hissing at each other then just close the door again. You will need to do it a couple of times over the next 2-3 days, before you open the door completely for your new cat and let them outside to explore rest of the house.
Always keep an eye on the cats for the first few days
You will need to make sure that they are not fighting with each other. It can take both of the cats some time to get comfortable with each other and when they hiss, you could try to separate them as you want them to have as much pleasant experience as possible when meeting each other.
I had noticed that the cats were uncomfortable so during night time, I kept them separate for an additional day as I wasn’t sure what would happen. The next day they were doing a lot better.
Monitor cats food and make sure both are getting enough attention
Sometimes the dominating cat of the two can end up eating food for both cats so you will need to let the cat know that it is not ok. It can take a while to train the cat not to eat the other cat’s food.
Also you will need to make sure that both of them are getting enough attention. Sometimes the other cat can feel a bit left out so you will need to maybe play with them one by one.
Give them time!
It usually takes atleast a few days, sometimes weeks for the cats to get adjusted to each other. It’s always good to monitor your cats and make changes accordingly, so that you are accommodating the needs of your new cat as well as the old one.